The Ark Kids Ministries
Ron and Glenda Allan 0601-168 Riobamba Ecuador, S. America
July News 09
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Telephone: (011 593) 3 260-2559 Web: http://www.arkchildrenshomes.com
Calls are free from Kelowna (or the cost of a call to Kelowna) which calls direct to us in Ecuador. 1-250-448-1922
The Retard A number of years ago, I was in Canada sharing in a church and I wanted to make a point that God uses regular people. I unwittingly said, “I’m JUST a mother,” and found myself close to being crucified by the angry masses of mother-lovers. Another time a few years later, once again back in Canada, I was in a parking lot and saw a car parked crooked taking up two spaces and I let my verbal guard down. I said (wince) “Bet the driver was a woman!” The people who heard me answered in murderous undertones! I’m actually not anti-female, I don't think women drive worse than men, and I believe being a mother is one of the most important jobs in the world. But Father’s day is busy when a man has 12 of his own kids plus hundreds more who call him Dad. I’ve been gone from Canada too long to remember the etiquette. Here, homosexuals are still mocked and jeered. Killing babies in the womb is considered awful, and nobody blinks an eye if you call a mentally handicapped kid “retarded.” Our family wears the derogatory name of “gringos,” although technically we’re not really gringos! “Gringos” are Americans. I love people. “Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight.” Hmmm, they probably don’t even sing that song anymore. But let me tell you a secret. In Riobamba, there’s a dumbing down process. Not everyone of course, but there’s a large section of our local culture that is being trained not to think. Kids are taught by rote in the schools. No art. Just colour between the printed lines please and get a perfect mark if you don’t cross them. Copy the dictated lesson into the book, but never quite learn it. As the education level advances to university it gets somewhat better. But...there are students who pay off their professors to get their titles. A pastor friend of ours said once, “The doctors here are carpenters!” Now that’s not really true. We have a number of great minds here, competition for some in Canada. The “dumbing, numbing” phenomenon causes us a lot of trouble when we try to find good staff. The other day our washer lady told us the washing machine won’t work right if she puts in bright colours. She can only use that machine to wash a dark load. Ron had fun trying to convince her that that was ridiculous. Last week Ron was met with an angry mob at the door. It was like a scene from Shrek, the rabble out to get the big white ogre (Ron) with their picks and shovels. We’re finally getting water to this area and Ron had laid 3/4 inch pipe to our house. The neighbours only use 1/2 inch. They were insistent that we were going to be taking all the water because of the somewhat larger pipe. Ron tried to explain how it all really works and that worse case scenario, we were at the end of the line and if the neighbourhood was out of water, we would be the first to go. But...to no avail. The larger waterline made us the “terrible Gringos.” Never mind that our property houses masses of homeless kids. We’re the bad guys. Nevertheless, these same campesinos will be coming to our big neighbourhood Christmas party in December with their aunts and uncles, cousins and nephews, kissing us on our cheeks and thanking us for being so wonderful to them. Life is like that here. I still find myself blurting out what shouldn’t be said. But I’m learning. I’ve stopped saying things in public now. Just in private, I happily tell my husband he’s a “retard.” But don’t let that information leak out or I’m doomed.
Simple People Have More Fun Stupid things make me laugh. Today the kids were playing in the sandbox and they seemed to be getting along very well. But Felipe walked all the way around the house to tell me that Andres and Kevin were being bad. They play right under my window, so I was surprised at his announcement. I leaned out and asked the kids if it was true that Andres and Kevin were being bad. “No,” they all agreed. I said, “But Felipe told me that they were both being bad.” Felipe’s sister looked up at me and in all innocence calmly said, “But Felipe’s a liar.” It was so matter of fact and said with such assurance that I had to laugh. We have 3 unusual cases at the Ark. Baby #1 is Romina. She’s a little Shuar baby who was born missing one eye. We aren’t sure if her second eye is functional, but we think so. It looks like her mom named her, then saw her handicap and abandoned the little darling.
A few days ago, one of our supervisors reached her limit with a baby worker who always talks back. The girl was responsible for one of the toddler rooms. She’d put the kids for a nap and then seeing that they were out of control, she quickly left and started doing some cleaning far away from her responsibility to the kids. The supervisor heard the ruckus and ran to the bedroom to find the 2 and 3 year olds running around the room, opening and closing the window, jumping on the beds and spitting on the floor. When she finally found the irresponsible caregiver, the long list of excuses started, and the supervisor, fed up, shouted. “Just SHUT UP and do your job!” So the next day the same worker talked back to me. I let her vent for her 15 minutes then I cut her off and told her she should learn to take correction and simply say “I’m sorry I was negligent. I’ll try to do better. “ Later when I explained to Ron how exasperating the girl was, Ron said, “You should’ve just said, “SHUT UP and do your job.” I thought that was funny too. I wonder if living with so many children has made me simple. Anyway, at least I enjoy life.
This baby’s name is Milagro, which means “Miracle.” She’s a very tiny premature baby who was abandoned in a park here in Riobamba. It appears the mom is repentant and is reclaiming the baby. She’s just had DNA testing done and we’ll find out soon if she’s really the mom. Milagro has a heart problem.
The Recession Hits The Ark The other day I told our accountant that she had to look at everything and see if there’s anywhere else we can cut corners on our spending because things are tough. But I qualified it. I told her that she wasn’t allowed to take away Ron’s spending on Coca Cola. I mean after all, “The worker is worth his keep,” says Matthew 10:10 I’ve never been one to worry much about survival because God “clothes the lilies of the field” and feeds “the birds of the air.” One of our supervisors reassured me that we’ll be okay because of the free flour we get from a local mill, so we can always live on pancakes, muffins and cinnamon rolls! What really happens to us when we run out of money is that we have to let our staff go because we can’t pay them. That sounds easy until you imagine what it would be like to take care of the 80 children all by ourselves, cooking meals, washing clothes, rinsing diapers, giving baths and so on. After my first 24 hour shift, I’m not sure what kind of shape I’d be in to keep going, never mind the condition of the kids! But this isn’t the first Ark that God has kept floating.
Little Caleb is another miracle baby. He was born without a brain although he does have a brain stem. His head size has increased dramatically and apparently will increase more. Babies like Caleb usually die within the first few hours or days after birth. But Caleb is almost 6 weeks old. It’s very hard to keep Caleb warm, so Naomi was carrying him around close to her chest till she left for Canada. Now our daughter Chavah is doing the same thing. He usually wears thick toques. (For all you Americans, a toque is a warm knitted hat.)
God keeps us afloat even though ...
Sucua Isaac is still working hard in Sucua. He’s had a run of sickness hit the children and his staff, but he’s hanging in there. One of his supervisors needed to quit, so he’s working more than he should be, but he’s young, stubborn and very capable, so he’ll see this time period through. The Sucua home is still grass roots and doesn’t yet have what it needs to function well. Isaac is good for an adventure and he’s the right one to pioneer a new work, with lots to do and no resources to do it with! Zoe and Kira (a volunteer from California) spent a number of days helping out when we found out that Isaac lost a supervisor and had kids in the hospital. Two of our teenage boys from Riobamba also went down to the jungle to give a hand. We just recently found a social worker who will give us a few hours a week to help resolve the children’s cases. Some of the kids do have family that can take them, so we have to sort out those situations and see who can go and who needs to stay. But for now, Isaac has a warm family unit of 25 children. He puts them to sleep at night singing and playing the guitar. Yesterday Isaac told of one little guy who sings his heart out at night if Isaac isn’t there.
Bad Kids The kids we have the privilege of raising in Riobamba and Sucua are sweet, obedient and adorable. They’re great kids who’ve gotten the raw end of the deal in life by being abandoned and rejected, or worse. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t carry inside of them the negative repercussions of their abuse. All people need the healing touch of Jesus to move on in life and be whole. Ro 13:8
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.
This morning on CNN I saw the face of one of the people responsible for murdering an innocent couple in Florida. The woman’s countenance was sweet and pleasant. We can’t tell by looking what is going on inside of any person. Things can be dark. But there’s something else to note. Those of us who understand our access to the powerful spirit of God, find healing. The rest of the world needs us to help them out of the fog.
Some of the kids we care for are “bad kids” so to speak. They’ve done some terrible things. Some are children of murderers and thieves and have learned the art. Some have been sexually abused and are tempted to go the same direction. Yet I know that each of them changes with constant, unbending, stubborn love. Every night we either teach the children more of God’s word, or we pray, or we worship or we do all of that and more. The kids are constantly confronted with God’s goodness. And we love them. We teach them right from wrong and we’re there for them. When they fall, we pick them up and care again. Ro 5:8
But God demonstrates his own love for As the years roll by and we are responsible to raise more and more us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ children, love is the single most important lesson I’ve learned. died for us.
Love and Danger When Ron and I first began to follow the Lord we were part of a broad group of young people who were always welcome at the home of a Dutch pastor and his wife. The lady’s name was Jackie. She was a bit overweight, had buck teeth, and gray mixed in her hair. She was certainly not in league with the Hollywood beauties we see, but she was and still is, in my memory, one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met. The lady overflowed with love and joy. She laughed constantly, sang heartily to God, and loved everyone. My first year of walking with Jesus, I decided that when I grew up, I wanted to be like her. We are so often preoccupied with external things, working harder and harder to meet up with the status quo while we lament our physical imperfections or our situation and status in the community. Not only do our insecurities attack us, but the nasty weeds of our daily troubles try to choke us out. There are seasons when trials loom over our heads and the answers evade us. But we don’t have to carry any load. We don’t have to feel insignificant and insecure. We are the beloved children of God. Simba said it right in The Lion King. “I laugh in the face of danger, hahaha!” Not that we take our troubles lightly, but we have God on our sides. We’re better than the Jedi knights and their “force.” We have the God of the universe with us, who keeps the sun from splashing into the earth, and sees that our hearts keep beating. That means that like our friend Jackie, we walk close to God, full of faith and exuding love and joy to all the hungry people all around us. We have nothing to fear. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) We can run around this world with confidence, without fear of any situation, and offer joy and love to all those we come in contact with. Ron just went to pray for our neighbour who is dying from skin cancer. He reminded our friend that God is the author of life. He can restore us, or we can die, but we never have to be concerned. If we trust him, all will be well. If we throw ourselves wholeheartedly into God, we’re where we should be. The world and it’s “heavies” will pull us down, discourage us and dishearten us. But we’re not part of this world. We can’t let it absorb us while our ALMIGHTY God is looking out for us. Danilo delights over a card from his sponsors in Canada.
When you see someone with that bright countenance of joyful love, it’s because they get it. We hope to pass that on to our many children here. Love is unlimited and powerful because God is love.
DONATIONS On our website we have Paypal which allows online donations with your credit card. Website is www.arkchildrenshomes.com
For Tax Receipts in the States send cheques to: The Ark Children’s Homes P.O Box 2352, Abingdon, Virginia, 24212 USA For Tax Receipts in Canada: The Ark Kids Ministries 964 Arbor View Drive Kelowna, BC. Canada, V1W 5A1 Phone 250-764-0472